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Noctua NH-D9L Review

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Noctua NH-D9L: Closer Look

Once removed from the multiple boxes, you can see Noctua design mimicking the bigger D14 and D15 coolers with its dual heatsink design. Similarly, Noctua standard fan mount method is used here, in which the fan can be attached via a metal clip on each side on the heatsink. A second fan can be attached thanks to the extra clips included, but the fan itself is not included, this will be covered later. The Noctua NF-A9 fan (included) operates from a PWM port and can be slowed down for silent operation with the adapter included. By default, the fan runs between the lowest speed of 400 RPM, while the maximum speed comes in at 2000 RPM @ 22.8 dBA. Even at full speed, the A9 fan keeps the acoustics to a minimal, which is always nice when considering a CPU cooler.

Standing at 110mm after installation, the cooler falls under the 3U category as it only has a 92mm fan, allowing for the low height clearance. This is similarly marketed towards small chassis and space constriction like the U9S, but the key difference here it fits within the 3U specifications and allowing it fit in some larger rackmounts. Having the same heat dissipation is accomplished by having two smaller heatsink towers rather than a single larger one. The benefits of this cooler when reviewing chassis, I often talk about how CPU height clearance can cause a few problems for system builders who want to push a the system with a smaller form factor and this cooler takes it to the extreme with its lower clearance. Usually at this height limitation, an All-In-One Cooler is the only option over a stock cooler.

 

 

 

The cooler itself is comprised of two aluminum towers with 35 fins and four heat-pipes passing all the way through from the base-plate and out the top fins for each structure. This cooler mimics the bigger D14 and D15 coolers that have proven to provide great heat dissipation. This version may be more of a compact form, but it does a similar job none the less, dissipating up to 140watts of heat in total.

 

 

 

Similar to the NH-U9S, Flipping the cooler on its side reveals a shiny buffed plate as shown reflecting the A9 Noctua fan. While the specifications list it as a copper base and pipes, it looks as if it's plated with another metal, which may be nickel, but the description doesn't specify how thick. I suspect this does not affect performance or Noctua wouldn't do it. The fan itself, if you missed it before, is a Noctua NF-A9 PWM fan, 92mm tall that operates between 400-2000 RPM. It is held onto the heatsink via a metal clip on each side. This is the same quality fan you can expect from Noctua and the fan is the same you get from a separate retail package.

 

Installation requires looking over the manual, as to figure out the correct orientation for the bracket supports. Installing to the Intel 115X socket requires the use of a backplate, which you need to install. The easiest method I found was putting the backplate in place and laying the motherboard down and then putting on the black raisers before moving on. After completing that, the user must place a support bar across two screws and secure it with their own screws. Once everything is tightened, you are ready for the cooler installation. This is as easy as it gets for any cooler installation and Noctua made it painless to install this cooler too.

Next, simply place the cooler in the middle and align it with the posts in the middle. Once in place, tighten both sides equally until it's completely down. I didn't really have any hassle or a strange installation process like other coolers I've used, and that is a good thing. While most people aren't ever going to install the same cooler more than once, it's nice to know if you need to, it won't take any about of rocket science to figure it out.

 

 

 

Being a compact cooler means that usually height is a major factor, which also includes RAM clearance. This becomes even more strict when it comes to 3U regulations where space is a real concern. Noctua avoided any of these issues by placing the cooler directly over the socket. This allows for ITX compatibility and no interference with any RAM. However, when setting up two fans, this is when the cooler falls apart. Being already a low profile cooler, the second fan will either block the ram or have height clearance issues with the VRM heatsinks. The cooler, of course, can be orientated the vertically, but that creates its own problems. This cooler seems to work best with a single fan from my observations.

 

 

Installation of the D9L cooler was easy thanks to the clearly written manual and simply directions. Once installed you can see how this cooler, while shorter in height, takes a bit more space to dissipate 140watts, but keeps it within the socket space. This allows for installation on ITX platforms, as well as motherboards that have VRM heatsink clearance issues. The downside is that a second fan will not install without some fuss as explained before.




  1. Noctua NH-D9L: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Noctua NH-D9L: Closer Look
  3. Noctua NH-D9L: Specifications & Features
  4. Noctua NH-D9L: Setup & Results
  5. Noctua NH-D9L: Conclusion
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